World Health Day; Understanding Universal Health Coverage.

       Written by Timothy Okooboh (PharmD) 

                               World Health Day

“Health is a human right. No one should get sick and die just because they are poor or because they cannot access the health services they need.”

  Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  WHO Director General. 

The focus of this year’s World Health Day is Universal health coverage through the #HealthForAll campaign.

Universal Health Coverage means that all people and every community receive the health services that they need without suffering financial hardship. “Universal” means “for all”, without discrimination, leaving no one behind. #HealthForAll is a campaign  to promote Universal Health Coverage by year 2030.

In simple terms, Universal Health Coverage means:
– People should not go hungry just because they pay for health care services.
– Children should not stay at home instead of going to school just because their parents or guardians pay for health care services.
– People should not be homeless or unable to afford good accommodation just because they pay for health care services.
– People should not die or remain ill just because there is no quality health care in their rural communities.

Everyone in every place should get quality health care services without suffering financial hardship.  Health is a human right. No one should have to choose between good health and other life neccessities.

Universal Health Coverage does not mean free health care services. No country can provide all services free of charge on a sustainable basis.  But at least, the cost of health care services should be affordable for  the people of every nation.

Statistics from the WHO shows that :
– At least half of the people in the world is currently unable to obtain essential health services.
– Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just $1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pocket.

It is very important to note that access to essential quality care and financial protection ( that is, at an affordable cost) not only enhances people’s health and life expectancy, it also protects countries from epidemics, reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, creates jobs and drives economic growth.

Everyone has a part to play in achieving Universal Health Coverage through the #HealthForAll campaign. Everyone from the government or policy makers , health care providers, civil society groups, individuals and the media.

Politicians should be faithful to their promises. A strong political will is essential to achieving Universal health coverage. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation.
Individuals and civil society groups should be united in airing their voices as regards the availability and accessibility of essential quality health care services in their communities. To take action is to demand action. 
The media should educate people on Universal health coverage and show stories of people and communities who are lacking affordable and available essential health services as well as those communities or countries already making advancement in achieving Health For All.



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